Saturday, July 26, 2008

What I've Been Listening To All Week

Gene Clark - No Other (I feel bad for this album, because I never actually play the second side. I'm so wiped out after the one two punch of "No Other" and "Strength of Strings" that I can't or won't go on. Which is a shame, because the second side is great. It's just that I need a couple of moments to reflect after hearing those two songs and then when I'm done reflecting I put something else on. Or play the first side all over again. A quick shout-out to Ivo Watts-Russell for turning me on to Roy Harper, Tim Buckley, and Gene Clark in the 80's. And Big Star too, come to think of it! What a guy.)

The Pozo-Seco Singers - Time (A sublime album. Harmonies to die for. Impeccable Bob Johnston production. You start out adoring their single "Time" and their cover of "Tomorrow is a Long Time", but it's what they do to "If I Fell" that will have you on your knees. Ooh la la. Or to quote the liner-notes: "Like Wowsville!"

Sly & Robbie - Rhythm Killers (Another album where the second side just lies there sadly waiting for me to play it. For years! I'm so cruel. But I get my fix of "Fire"/"Boops(Here To Go)"/"Let's Rock" and I'm done. Completely satisfied. Still one of the all-time great line-ups of the 80's. Sly, Robbie, Bootsy, Mudbone, Shinehead, Rammellzee, Henry Threadgill, D.S.T., and more. My question is: Do I need that Defunkt album from 1981 that sits in the record store week after week. It's cheap. I like Lester Bowie. Is it a no-brainer?)

Hank Crawford - Help Me Make It Through The Night (CTI magic. "Uncle Funky". Bernard Purdie. And one track, "Ham", that features Eric Gale, Idris Muhammad, Airto, AND Pepper Adams. Hot damn!)

Mudhoney - Superfuzz Bigmuff (Hahahaha, one more time! I know "No One Has"/"If I Think"/"In 'n' Out Of Grace" like the back of my hand, but I have no clue what the other side of this record sounds like. I never ever play it. Someday I will. I've been busy. In 1988 I bought a new all-in-one stereo system for cheap at one of the dodgy electronics stores on Chestnut Street in Philly and I lugged it home about ten blocks in the summer heat and this was the first record I played on it. I still remember exactly how it sounded through those cheap-o speakers. KInda crappy and also kinda awesome.)

Heifetz-Piatigorsky Concerts (From 1966 on RCA. They play Arensky - who I know nothing about other than he was Russian - Vivaldi, and Martinu. Ditto for Martinu. I think this might be the only album I own with any Martinu music on it. His Duo for Violin and Cello kicks ass though. And these dudes shred on it. By 1966, I don't think either of these guys were at their "peak", but, you know, an off day for Heifetz is a career highlight for most anyone else. The Vivaldi concerto on here is like a big fat plate of awesome. So beautiful.)

The Stonemans - In All Honesty (Never get tired of this album. One of the first families of country music goes 60's pop. Sorta. This album is still plenty country. And they make the CCR covers they play their own. The Townes Van Zandt tune "I'll Be Here in the Morning" and Tom T. Hall's "Hang Them All" are the highlights. The Poor Stoneman family look soooooo uncomfortable in their hippy gear on the cover.)

J.J. Cale - #8 (I always forget how good this album is. I tend to give less time to 80's and 90's J.J., but whenever I play the 80's and 90's stuff I find them to be just as good as all the 70's stuff that I love. The songs, the playing, those great arrangements. A shout-out to Audie Ashworth. An unsung hero if there ever was one.)

West - S/T (I could go on and on about the two West albums on Epic. And on. And on. Why do I love them so? Most people would find them pleasant 60's folk/pop and carry on with their day. Me, I play them over and over and marvel at these minimal pop miniatures. Each song is only two minutes and change. Bob Johnston rules. Even the cover of friggin' "Dolphins" rules. Actually, most covers of "Dolphins" are pretty good. There are only about 300 of them.

Come - Near Life Experience (I was at a wedding not that long ago and Chris Brokaw was there - and he played guitar too with a local band here at the wedding and it was awesome - and I didn't mention my love for Come. Just didn't come up. I would say that they were one of my top five rock bands of the 90's. I don't know who the other four are. Denim. Eyehategod. Um, Masters of Reality? I forget. Red House Painters! I really liked them. I didn't listen to Codeine much when they were around. But Come, man, they were the bomb to me. Every song was seemingly yet another variation on the theme of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" by The Beatles. And as "I Want You" is one of the cornerstones of downer rock, metal, and my life, how could I not love Come? If I were a musician I would start a tribute band called Came and play all those great Come songs live. People should hear them. They are too good not to hear out there in the air. Which brings me to yet another album with one side played over and over and the other side pristine in its unplayedness! Though I like the second side of this album just fine, the first side with "Hurricane"/"Weak As The Moon"/"Secret Number"/"Bitten" is PERFECT. You heard me. Perfect. Not a note or hair out of place. "Secret Number" just might be the best Chris Brokaw Come song too. By the time I get to "Bitten" I am on the ground wondering what hit me. Then I play it over again. And get hit again. I'm a masochist like that.)

The Impressions - Finally Got Myself Together (Sometimes I honestly wonder whether there is anyone alive right now capable of making an album this good. And this isn't even, like, the greatest album ever made. Making music this deep and spiritually strong almost seems like a lost art. I know there are people out there doing great things, but...)

Corelli - 12 Concerto Grossi Op.5 (Stunning!)

Bohannon - Keep On Dancin' (An album that will be buried with me. Or burned with me. I haven't decided yet.)

The Stranglers - Skin Deep (Extended Version) (One of my favorite 12 inches of the 80's. I've played it at least a hundred times since 1985. It's ALL about the remix version too. I was stuck in a Stranglers Youtube K-hole a while back and, man, all I know is if they were from Germany every hipster in the world would be a wearing a Stranglers t-shirt right now. One of the greatest art-rock bands of all time. That's all I'll say.)

Redeye - S/T (Essential psych/pop/folk/country release on Pentagram. You can probably find it for two bucks used. AMAZING production. Superior harmonies. Kind of an odd band all around. Odd ideas. odd POP ideas.)

The Savage Rose - S/T (Also essential)

John B. Spencer - Out With A Bang (One of those Brit poets/folkies I would probably know all about if I were from the U.K. and who doesn't even exist in the U.S. I know he wrote fiction. And I'm pretty sure he's dead. This 80's album is strange and very very downbeat. I don't even know who to compare him with. This album is on Topic.)

October Country - S/T (Scorpio reissue of a great stoned Cali psych harmony group's one and only album. I think. "My Girlfriend Is A Witch" is a keeper for sure.)

Don Agrati - Homegrown (Baffling solo effort by ex-My Three Sons son and ex-Mouseketeer better known as Don Grady. He was also in bands prior to this album. Most notably The Yellow Balloon. Homegrown is all over the place. Maudlin piano man stuff, faux ragtime stuff, crazy orchestrated pop and rock. It's a mess, but a listenable mess. "Protoplasm Blues" and "Bloodstream" are the most listenable. You can tell that Don fancied himself another Brian Wilson, but...Yeah.

Benny Gallagher & Graham Lyle - S/T (super blissed-out folk rock guitar duo on Capitol. Lots of interesting ideas. Produced by Glyn Johns.)

SS Decontrol - Get It Away (Honestly, this is art rock to me too. So beautiful and epic. Springa one of the great throats of all time. It always amazes me how much "Glue" reminds me of Rudimentary Peni. And don't get me started about the song "Get It Away". It's one for the ages.)

Verbal Assault - Trial (Still love this album. Still one of the greatest live shows I ever saw. Though I only saw them in 1987 after the Gorman brothers joined. Never saw the original line-up.)

Sun Dial - Reflector ("Tremelo")

Bo Diddley - Where It All Began ("Bad Trip")

David Blue - S/T (The Dylanisms can actually be quite cloying and I'm a fan of most Dylanisms. This album is best when it approaches garage rock territory. Which is does often enough.)

Acrostichon - Engraved In Black (On Modern Primitive Records. One of the best metal albums I ever bought for 99 cents. They were Dutch, I think. Very cool thrash/death. And, by far, one of the greatest female death metal vocalists I've ever heard. Fierce!)

The Disparate Cogscienti - V/A (Mark E. Smith's comp of some of his fave 80's bands/artists. I hardly ever play it. It's really not all that memorable. It always makes me a little curious about the further adventures of John The Postman & The Legendary Lost, but then I forget about it again for another half decade or so. The one track by God on here is way clunky too.)


Blogger  nathaxnne wilhelmina said...

scott seward you are my favorite current-writing music critic. i have really loved many, but you are among my mostest favorite. your enthusiasm for divine styler's spiral which i bought new when it came out and then subsequently used over and over and over and gave away those copies. i marveled at the ads for it in option, comparing him to sun ra and syd barrett. if you like, then you'll love ---! i am sorry to hear that you are no longer writing for decibel. i loved your prose-poem reviews. you will be missed and i am now counting down the days and months until i can read your stuff in a print anthology of all scott seward all the time. you deserve it. thanks, nathan.

9:25 PM  

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